METHODS: Nine patients with focal lesions of the condylar articular cartilage were consecutively treated with arthroscopic microfractures (MFX) covered with a collagen membrane immersed in autologous bone marrow concentrate (BMC) from the iliac crest. Patients were retrospectively assessed using several standardized outcome assessment tools and MRI scans. Four patients consented to undergo second look arthroscopy and biopsy harvest.
RESULTS: Every patient was arthroscopically treated for a focal condylar lesion. All the patients but one experienced a significant clinical improvement from the pre-operative condition to the latest follow-up. Cartilage macroscopic assessment at 12months revealed that all the repairs appeared almost normal. Histological analysis showed a hyaline-like cartilage repair in one lesion, a fibrocartilaginous repair in two lesions and a mixture of both in one lesion.
CONCLUSIONS: The first clinical experience with single-stage C-CMBMC for focal cartilage defects in the knee suggests that it is safe, it improves the short-term knee function and that it has the potential to recreate hyaline-like cartilage. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: IV, case series.